By Aabigayle McIntosh
With less than a week to go before the toughest race of their lives, Team Antigua Island Girls are making the final preparations before departing Monterey California for the 2,800 nautical miles to Kauai Hawaii.
Team members Christal Clashing, Kevinia Francis, and Samara Emmanuel told state media Tuesday that the boat would have been in the water later that day.
They departed Antigua for California on May 29th where they took part in several different exercises to aid in their preparation.
The inaugural Pacific Challenge starts on June, 12th 2023 with up to 40 teams participating from around the World.
Francis said the atmosphere in California has been refreshing so far.
“Atlantic Campaigns have always welcomed us as part of the family and the good thing is that this year, there are a lot of repeat rowers and we are reuniting with fellow rowers, so it has been exciting,” Francis said.
“If anybody is missing a kit someone would assist and so on. A team has also volunteered to meet us in the boat park,” according to Francis
Christal Clashing also shared that while there is still an element of competitive spirit among the rowers, the primary focus is on the safety of all.
“This is why we do the amount of safety checks that we do in the weeks leading up to our race date. We have inspections and briefings and everything leads up to us being safe on the water,” she said.
The security checks, she said, are done at regular intervals to ensure that everyone is at their best.
The challenge is the latest edition to the Atlantic Oceans races, the same team responsible for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
Almost three years ago, on January 28th, 2019, Team Antigua Island Girls created history by becoming the first all-female all-black Caribbean to complete the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, which culminated at Antigua and Barbuda’s Nelson’s Dockyard.
That voyage, which began in December 2018 in La Gomora, Canary Islands, lasted around 47 days.
Just like they did then they will be raising funds for a non-profit organization, more specifically towards a project to assist girls in conflict with the law.